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I Left My Heart in New York City.

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I Left My Heart in New York City.

Tommy Engstrom

City of Chicago, please plug your ears for the duration of this post.

I knew that it would happen. A week ago as I was packing my things to fly to New York City for the week I got the undeniable feeling that I would once again fall in love with the city that never sleeps. Four years ago I packed up and moved back to Chicago after a year living in NYC. I had worked as a barista at the Starbucks at 63rd and Broadway, and then as an office coordinator at a small boutique agency. 

The stories that I have from my time living there sounds like they should be coming out of the movie The Devil Wears Prada. In all reality, that was my life for much of my time there. I barely had enough money to pay rent. I survived off of Starbucks food and then rice and candy while working at the agency. I would receive phone calls late at night to ship large all white bouquets of flowers to my boss's mother in the English country side. The newest version of the iPhone would be released, and there I was, standing in line at the Apple store in the Meatpacking District. My life appeared to be that of a fictional movie character. Only it was not fictional at all. I lived. I survived. I struggled. I continued. 

Throughout all of the hardships that I faced while living in Manhattan, I still found myself falling in love with the city. The people. The lifestyle. The pace of life. I loved everything about my surroundings. Unfortunately, my financial standings did not agree with such a lifestyle and I found myself moving back to Chicago to regain a base and get back on my feet. 

So when I was given the opportunity to return with my new job, I was ecstatic. Things are different now. I have a stable job and career. I am making money. I am older and have gone through life lessons that I had not yet faced as a bright-eyed 23-year old. As my taxi drove into Manhattan I felt like I was home again. The crowded streets. The garbage sitting on the sidewalks. The endless amounts of traffic. I felt a weird sense of calm as we drove through the streets of Manhattan. 

The dilemma that I now face is that I have fallen in love with the city of Chicago. It has become my home. I've made amazing life-long friends here. I have found a community of people that I enjoy spending time with, who push and challenge me to chase my dreams. But being back in New York reminded me that things are different. No matter where I call home, I feel like a part of my heart will always belong to New York City.

Tommy.